Bert Horrobin (Martyn Read)
Susan is probably feeling pleased with herself, as her plan to have sister Tracy move in with Bert and Gary seems to be working. At one stroke, Susan gets rid of her annoying sister and kids, there's someone living in the house to stop idiot Gary burning the place down and Susan won't have to spend so much time running after her father.
It's looking good, when Bert tells Tracy he'd love it if they moved in, but Tracy is no fool – bloody irritating, I grant you, but not stupid. She demonstrates this by suggesting to Bert that it would make her feel more secure if the house were to be in her name as well as his. We can see where Gary obviously gets his intelligence from, as Bert isn't suspicious in the slightest and agrees to the scheme. That was on Monday and, by Wednesday, Tracy has written and typed the letter to the Housing Association in Bert's name and is standing over him with a pen. "There's no need to bother Susan with this," says Tracy sweetly. I just hope that she doesn't throw Bert and Gary out and they end up at Neil and Susan's.
Speaking of airhead Gary, he managed to drive the kids to school on Wednesday, without getting lost or crashing the car. I was impressed (and surprised), but my lack of faith was restored on Friday, when he took them again but forgot to pick them up in the afternoon. Neil, who was trying to stop Tracy choosing Italian marble and presumably gold-plated fittings for Bert's pantry-cum-bathroom, had to step into the breach.
I suspect that Nic has plans to upgrade herself from doormat to dominant wife – on their return from honeymoon, Will is trying to carry her over the threshold and she tells him they should change the name of the house. Will realises that 'Casa Nueva' was Emma's choice and it also dawns on him that all the crockery he and Nic have been using were presents from his first wedding. Nic made sure that her wedding list included a dinner service and other items. Showing a lack of sensitivity that was surprising even for him, Will rings up Emma and asks her if she'd like the dinner set back. "She gave me a right earful" he said, in a mystified voice. Any more clever moves like that and we'll have to start calling him Gary.
We should also pay tribute to Will's romantic streak – on their return, Nic says "Look at the moon". "There'll be poachers about tonight" replies Ambridge's Mr Romance.
I was disturbed when Jake and Mia announced that they wanted to be called by the name "Grundy" in the future. Poor little sods! I can only presume that the surname "whinger" had already been taken? Clarrie says that they can call her "grandma". Better than "child poisoner", I suppose.
Pat's 60th party went well, to the extent that Tom was seriously hungover the next day and Lilian didn't surface till after lunch. I am getting cheesed off with Tom and Brenda's efforts to find the Holy Grail of pork-related ready meals. The chilli con carne has too much chilli and the sausage casserole was fairly ordinary. But wait! They try out pork meatballs and Eureka! They are delicious and Tom – for whom (as far as Tom Archer products are concerned) glasses are never half empty, but brimming over – says "It's just what the ready meals market has been waiting for!" No doubt the Michelin Star is already in the post.
Back in August last year, I asked "Are the cows doomed?", referring to the Brookfield dairy herd. Well, if not doomed exactly, they are highly endangered and David is seriously wondering if they should cut their losses and get out of dairy. Roooooth isn't ready to see them go just yet, but perhaps David should take her to the piggy bank and show her that it's empty. After that, he can beat her over the head with the quote for a new slurry tank (a snip at £22,000) and maybe explain that the idea is to bring in more money than you actually shell out. Make her stop paying Emma to clean the house David – if you get rid of the cows, she'll have plenty of time for housework.
It was an awkward week for Brian, when Annabelle rang him to say that the Echo has got hold of the mega-dairy story and were planning to run a hatchet job on it on Thursday. The story duly appears and it seems that they definitely pick on the worst aspects, making it sound like a cross between Drs Moreau and Frankenstein. Thursday is also the day of the Parish Council meeting and the news stirs up, shall we say, considerable emotion. Opinions are polarised, with some very anti (Ruth, Adam, Tom) and others (Shula, Chris Carter) more relaxed and wanting to know the whole story.
Jim summed it up with admirable understatement when he told Tom "I think it's fair to say that Brian will have his work cut out selling it to the village." Brian is more optimistic, telling Shula that people will realise that's it's an environmentally-friendly, work-generating project that will benefit everybody. That's as maybe Brian, but it's still a bloody great shed, and how can you explain the benefits when you have been lynched by a pack of angry villagers? That would be a good way to christen the Jubilee Oak.